IN A MATCH devoid of chances - and at times quality - Queens Park Rangers showed grit and determination to earn a point in a 0-0 draw against Tottenham Hotspur this afternoon.
Shaun Wright-Phillips had Rangers best chance to claim all three in the first half had it not been for Michael Dawson’s last ditch block.
But R’s had keeper Julio Cesar to thank for ensure a share of the spoils with the Brazilian answering Spurs attack every time they came knocking with a number of strong saves.
Redknapp made two changes to the starting line-up of the side that beat Chelsea last time out in the Barclays Premier League. Ji-Sung Park replaced the injured Esteban Granero whilst Shaun Wright-Phillips was handed a start having come off the bench to score the winner at Stamford Bridge.
Rangers survived an early scare inside the sixth minute when Jermaine Defoe’s shot from outside the edge of the area struck then post. Julio Cesar was fantastic to get a touch on it to push it onto the woodwork but it rebounded back out to the feet of Emmanuel Adebayor. Fortunately Adebayor saw his effort from close range brilliantly charged down by Cesar, as he turned the ball over for a corner. The resulting flag kick needed the Brazilian to be alert once more as he dealt with a tidy flick from Gareth Bale at his near post to keep the score 0-0.
Having survived that scare the slightest of deflections from Spurs centre-back Michael Dawson was all that stood in the way of QPR taking the lead. Adel Taarabt had the vision to flick Shaun Wright-Phillips in behind the Spurs back four with the outside of his boot. However, the Stamford Bridge hero took time to get the ball out from under his feet and that allowed Dawson enough of an opportunity to get across and deny an opener.
Play was halted in the 24th minute as a knee injury to Sandro saw him replaced by Scott Parker. Chances were few and far between, with the R’s forced to hurry and chase down their opponents on regular occasions in a bid to hustle something out of the match.
And it was that sort of play that continued to frustrate Tottenham in the opening 45 minutes as Parker was forced to shoot from long range.
On the stroke of half-time a turn by Wright-Phillips on Kyle Walker was deserving of better after the diminutive winger made ground on the Spurs penalty area but his tame shot skipped wide of Hugo Lloris’ goal.
The second half started with Cesar being called into action to stop a Bale free-kick from handing the visitors the lead. Toronto bound Ryan Nelsen fouled Defoe 20-yards from goal and Cesar needed two attempts to collect the free-kick which appeared to wrong foot the R’s custodian.
Fabio handed Tottenham another chance to test Cesar from distance after bringing down Aaron Lennon on the corner of the 18-yard box. Fortunately for Rangers, Walker could not hit the target from the resulting free-kick.
And the former Inter Milan stopper continued to be the busier of the two number ones on show as he denied Defoe with a strong block in the 53rd minute.
A rare foray for QPR into the opposition penalty area 15 minutes from time saw Fabio and Taarabt combine well down the left hand side with a neat one-two but the R’s full-back was unable to pick out Mackie in the six-yard box as Spurs dealt with the threat.
Taarabt then sent Wright-Phillips through but Lloris raced out of his box to beat him to the ball and clear the danger.
With five minutes remaining Rangers could have won it when Wright-Phillips did excellent down the left wing. Somehow he managed to back heel the ball over his head before racing clear. He found Taarabt who slid Wright-Phillips in on goal but at the pivotal moment he stubbed his shot and the chance had disappeared.
It was a gutsy – if not pretty – display from R’s as they did what was required to claim their eighth draw of the season.